Saturday, June 28, 2008

More Caucasus

In the first part of Imperium, Ryszard Kapuściński travels to the Transcaucasian republics where he finds a colourful patchwork of people, religions and languages - all challenging the received image of the Soviet union as one single grey monolithic structure. Though the contrast may have been even starker in the 60’s, I would still say that present day Yerevan or Tbilisi offers something unlike anywhere else in the former Eastern bloc.

One morning, in the green parks of Yerevan, I searched for words to put down on a postcard. Looking around me I realized that it was really like sitting in a mixture of Tolkien’s Rivendell and a junkyard. The scene turned even more dramatic whenever I got a glimpse of the 5137 metres high stratovolcano Arrarat hovering at the horizon.

As for the people, time was far too short to say something meaningful. Maybe that Yerevan seemed to be on par with Madrid when it comes to late nights out. And that history is still too much alive to be turned into ironic reference. Visiting the State Museum of Armenian History we were shown around hundreds of traditional carpets yet not allowed to enter the garden where a beheaded Lenin bronze statue is taking an eternal nap next to a statue of Catherine the Great.


Post a Comment

<< Home